Sex crimes, including Sexual Assault, Aggravated Sexual Assault, Solicitation and Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography are very serious crimes, especially in Texas. They can take place in nearly any context, including in cyberspace (i.e., social media, sexting), at home (i.e., sexual abuse of a child or family member), at an institution (i.e., school, church), and elsewhere. These types of crimes are often treated with much scrutiny by jurors and prosecutors in Tyler, Texas. That’s why you need a lawyer experienced in litigating Sexual Assault and crimes against children cases. As the former Prosecutor and Elected District Attorney in Tyler and Smith County, Texas for 23 years, I know how the prosecutor prepares these cases for trial. I will thoroughly investigate and aggressively defend my clients charged with Sexual Assault, Aggravated Sexual Assault, crimes against children, and other sex crimes.

There are many different types of sex crimes with varying degrees of severity and punishments. Whether you have been accused of Sexual Assault, Indecency with a Child, Continuing Sexual Abuse of a Child, an Improper Relationship between Educator and Student, or another sexual offense, you could be facing very severe penalties. You may also be required to register as a sex offender for ten years or life, which can cost you relationships, job opportunities, lodging options, and much more. You must find a competent defense attorney immediately who can meet with you, evaluate your case, and get to work preparing your defense to the victim’s accusations.

Below are some of the many types of sex crimes Attorney Matt Bingham will defend:

Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child

Aside from Capital Murder, this is one of the most serious crimes someone can be charged with in the State of Texas. It occurs when someone 17 years of age or older, during a period of 30 days or more, commits two or more acts of sexual abuse against a child under the age of 14, regardless of whether the acts are committed against one or more alleged victims. In other words, there  must be at least two acts of sexual abuse that occurred during a period of 30 days or longer against one or more children under the age of 14. Acts of “Sexual Abuse” is any act that violates one or more of the following statutes:

  • Aggravated kidnapping, if committed with the intent to violate or abuse the victim sexually;
  • Indecency with a child, by means other than touching the breast of the child on top of or under the clothing;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Aggravated sexual assault;
  • Burglary if the actor committed the offense with intent to sexually abuse the victim
  • Sexual performance of a child;
  • Trafficking of a person;
  • Compelling prostitution

The jury does not have to unanimously agree on which specific acts of sexual abuse were committed by the defendant or the exact date those acts were committed. However, the jury must unanimously agree that the defendant, during a period of 30 days or longer, committed two acts of sexual abuse.

The victims of the sexual acts of abuse can be different children under the age of 14. It does not matter, and is no defense, that the defendant believed the alleged victim was over the age of 14.

Someone convicted of this offense cannot receive probation or parole. The range of punishment is not less than 25 years, nor more than 99 years, or Life. Whatever sentence the defendant receives between 25 years to Life, must be served day for day. Additionally, the defendant will be required to register as a Sex Offender for the rest of their life.

Sexual Assault

A person commits the offense of Sexual Assault if he/she intentionally or knowingly:

  • causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent, or
  • causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person’s consent, or
  • causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person’s consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus or sexual organ of another person

Sexual Assault of a Child can be committed regardless of whether the person knows the age of the child at the time of the offense. This offense is committed if the person intentionally or knowingly:

  • causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;
  • causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the actor;
  • causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor;
  • causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor;
  • causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor

The Sexual Assault section of the Texas Penal Code is very complex and enumerates specifically, issues surrounding consent, as well as some defenses to this crime. One enumerated defense to the charge of Sexual Assault is if the child was over the age of 14, the encounter was consensual and the actor was not more than three years older than the alleged victim.

These are very serious crimes with severe consequences ranging from two to twenty years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000, as well as required registration as a sex offender.

One of the most common defenses against Sexual Assault charges is consent. It is also very important to look closely at the relationship of the person charged and the alleged victim. There may be a motive for the alleged victim to falsify the allegations, or for one parent to coerce a child to lie about the offense, in order to gain an advantage in a divorce or child custody matter. These are several possible defenses an experienced lawyer will consider while building your case.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

In Texas, Aggravated Sexual Assault is differentiated from Sexual Assault by the addition of at least one of the following qualifiers:

  1. The alleged victim was younger than 14 years of age, regardless of whether the person knew the age of the alleged victim or not
  2. The actor caused serious bodily injury to the alleged victim
  3. The alleged victim was incapacitated or disabled
  4. A weapon was used in the commission of the sexual assault
  5. There was a threat of serious bodily injury or death
  6. Drugs or alcohol were used to incapacitate the victim
  7. The perpetrator had an accomplice aiding in the crime

If a crime is indicted as Aggravated Sexual Assault, sentencing is much harsher than that of Sexual Assault. Prison time ranges from five to 99 years, sex offender registration is required, and a fine of up to $10,000 may be assessed.

Indecency With A Child

A person commits this offense if, with a child of the same or opposite sex, the person engages in sexual contact with the child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact with him/her. This can occur even if both parties remain fully clothed. The offense can also be committed by exposing the persons anus or genitals knowing the child is present or causing the child to expose his anus or genitals. Sexual contact means any touching of the anus, breast or any part of the genitals of another person with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person. Indecency with a child by contact is any contact involving the breasts, genitals, or anus, even if both parties remain fully clothed.

Punishments for Indecency with a Child depend on the degree of the crime. Indecency by exposure is a third-degree felony and is punishable by not less than 2, nor more than 10, years in prison. Indecency by contact, on the other hand, is a second-degree felony and is punishable by not less than 2, nor more than 20, years in prison. These crimes also often come with required registration as a sex offender.

However, it is an affirmative defense to prosecution that at the time of the offense there was a three year or less age gap between the defendant and the alleged victim and the alleged victim was of the opposite sex. Additionally, for someone to be guilty of this offense, the touching of the alleged victim has to have occurred in order to satisfy the sexual desires of the person charged. For example, if a person’s hand touched the breast of a child, and both parties were clothed, a legitimate argument can be made that the touching was an inadvertent accident and not done to satisfy anyone’s sexual desires.

Possession of Child Pornography

Occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly possesses, or accesses with intent to view, material that visually depicts a child younger than 18 years of age, at the time the image was made, engaging in sexual conduct.

This is a third degree felony punishable by not less than 2 nor more than 10 years in prison. If convicted, there is mandatory registration as a sex offender. The punishment is enhanced if you have been previously convicted of Possession of Child Pornography in the past. Moreover, if the actor possesses six or more identical visual depictions of a child, it is presumed that he/she possess the images with the intent to promote the material.

In a Possession of Child Pornography case, there are several issues that must be looked at very carefully. One of the first things a defense lawyer should look at is any possible 4th Amendment violations regarding the legality of the search and seizure of the computer and images that may be found on the computer. If the seizure of the computer or electronic device, and subsequent search, were illegal, any evidence found may be suppressed and consequently be inadmissible as evidence.

Online Solicitation of a Minor

Online Solicitation of a Minor refers to when an individual, 17 years of age or older, communicates over the internet, by electronic mail or text message, or other electronic or commercial messaging service, with someone younger than 17, or with someone the actor believes to be younger than 17, in a sexually explicit manner, or distributes sexually explicit material to the minor with the intent to commit the offense of indecency with a child, sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault.

Another way to commit this crime is to use the internet, send a text message or use another electronic or messaging service, to solicit someone under the age of 17 to meet another person, including the defendant, to engage in sexual intercourse with the defendant or another person.

This offense is a third degree felony, except that the offense is a second degree felony if the minor is younger than 14 years of age or is an individual the actor believes to be younger than 14 years of age at the time of the communication.

Being arrested for Solicitation of a Minor can be the result of “entrapment,” which occurs  when the police induce you to engage in the illegal conduct. A defense can be built in such a case that the crime of solicitation would not have been committed had the police not induced the defendant to commit the offense through persuasion or other means likely to cause the defendant to commit the offense. There may be other possible lines of defense applicable in your case. That’s why you need a knowledgable attorney in Tyler, Texas, to carefully examine the facts of your case and work toward building a strong defense.

Contact Us

If you have been arrested and charged with any of the above sex crimes or sexual assault crimes, contact the Law Offices of Matt Bingham immediately to schedule your free initial consultation.

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